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A Guide To Marketing To Millennials In India

One group that is now extremely important to brands are millennials, those born between the early 1980s and the turn of the century

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Demographics have become increasingly important in marketing, especially with the growth of better segmenting algorithms and plenty of big data to draw on that can help mould effective strategies.

One group that is now extremely important to brands are millennials, those born between the early 1980s and the turn of the century. In fact, they've changed the way we marketers look at customers and delivered something of a marketing revolution. Nowhere is the group more important than in India.

Indian Millennials: Facts and Figures
- Those under 35 represent a large proportion (65%) of the Indian population.
- They are undoubtedly better educated and more tech savvy than their predecessors.
- They're more likely to engage and shop online.
- And they have a clear set of characteristics that define how marketing companies and brands should engage with them.

While earlier generations migrated to digital media, millennials were the first to be digital natives. They grew up with this stuff and are certainly more comfortable with it than their parents. This tech, lifestyle and social landscape has not only defined how these people work but how they play, shop and aspire to greater things.

Smart devices and digital landscapes have changed the way in which this demographic thinks, feels and wants. They are much more likely to share and act altruistically than their older peers.

In short, millennials are the first to really 'get' the digital age.

They're comfortable with the changing business landscape in India, happy to reach out locally but across the globe as the well. Updating skills and learning new approaches is key to this demographic. It makes them highly flexible, in thinking and action, in an ever-changing job market and social environment. It also gives them the confidence to define their own futures, demonstrated by the fact that many are opting to start their own businesses.

Key Characteristics of India's Millennials?

Along with their tech savvy nature, millennials are not foolish enough to fall for the traditional marketing approaches of the past. They're tag of being the 'me-me-me' generation means they have a complicated set of characteristics that brands need to get in tune with.

They want more personalisation for a start - they're not just looking for a neat looking product but are concerned with the provenance and identity of it as well. This has led many brands to now change their marketing strategies and invest far more on personal engagement with messages that have greater impact.

Online vs Offline - many millennials will use a variety of online and offline methods before they decide to buy. That will include numerous apps, such as those that compare products, to research their purchase. They also don't have any compunction about searching in a bricks and mortar store and then looking to find a cheaper offer online or vice versa.

Millennials are actually poorer than their parents - with increasing house prices and the cost of renting a place to live, this demographic is less well off than their parents. They're the first generation not to improve on their standard of living and many still live at home with mum and dad.

60% of millennials look for a brand they can personally identify with, something which will allow them to stand apart from their peers. Key areas for focus are fashion, health and beauty. In all these, women and men are more on a par than at any time in our lifetime. That doesn't mean that Indian millennials aren't traditionalists at heart, however, and some 83% still believe that marriage is important.

- Another key characteristic is their sheer number - there are 700 million millennials in India alone.

- According to a recent Deloitte's report they're also highly ambitious with 80% looking to rise up the corporate ladder into management. That includes Indian women as well.

- A PwC report said that 76% expected to achieve senior management positions (compared to 49% in the rest of the world) though only about half thought they had the same opportunities as men.

- The Deloitte survey shows that millennials are twice as likely as their parents to start their own business.

- Universal Global also found that it's not just about higher salaries - today's millennials want to coach and mentor as well, contributing positively to the world around them.

The Importance of Millennials for Brands
They are perhaps the key demographic not least because they will be about 64% of the Indian workforce by 2021. They are a demographic that is into a better work life balance and they are keen to learn and advance - not only for personal progression but to change the world in which they live.

They're not looking to hang around either. Millennials like new things that improve their way of life and their thirst isn't just confined to the borders of their own country.

They are global creatures, as much at ease in engaging with their neighbours as they are in reaching out to new friends and associates across the globe.

6 Tips for Marketing to Millennials

1. Understand this first of all: your market is well-informed. The reason some traditional marketing methods like banner and TV ads don't work as well nowadays is that millennials are tech savvy and marketing smart. This may be because 35% of them are already running their own business but it's more likely because they have a greater thirst for knowledge and plenty of resources at hand. Don't underestimate their intelligence.

2. Marketers who try to veil their advertising may well get short shrift. Millennials want a direct message and they want to know why they should buy your product. They don't want something hidden in mysticism or emotion. They might share it but it doesn't mean they're going to buy unless you set out a good, compelling reason. They're busy and have short attention spans - that means you need to get your message down to the bare bones and keep it focused.

3. Millennials are the ultimate online purchasers. If you don't have it available online, then you're not going to reach this demographic. Not only that, you need to make it easy to purchase and including existing services like Paypal and autopay systems are a must.

4. Millennials like to talk and engage online and if your social media or advertising doesn't create an environment for that, you're going to be struggling uphill all the time. Get them talking, hopefully about your product, and you're onto a winner.

5. Quality and service are paramount add-ons for any business. It needs to be sleek, easy to access, highly responsive and designed to help. This is one area of business development that has improved dramatically over the last decade - that's largely down to millennials who are quite prepared to up sticks and go somewhere else if they don't get the help and advice they want.

6. Finally, don't stand still. Marketers who think they've got the right approach will soon be left behind. Millennials are constantly redefining the landscape and, if you aren't prepared to learn and change with them, you will quickly find yourself losing ground.

There's no doubt that marketing effectively to millennials in India is important. The consumer world has changed at a fast rate and continues to do so. It may be complex and is certainly constantly reworking itself and delivering the right, integrated marketing strategy can yield huge rewards.

Never before has it been so important to know your demographic and to be able to drill deep down into the details to provide more effective engagement.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Kartikey Bhargava

Kartikey Bhargava is the marketing head of a company that specializes in mobile led digital solutions and a part-time food critic.

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